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How to Boost your images with Unsharp Mask

I have finally added to my Understanding section a few steps on how to give your images a boost using the unsharp mask. This technique can be used on any image but remember, less is more. Although I don't shoot in JPEG too often, this is the method I use to remove a grey caste that occurs in JPEG images from the Canon 10D. This problem has not occurred very often and I think it may have been addressed in a firmware update for this camera. Either way, it's a great way to give your images a little pep. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Review ~ Canon 10D Digital SLR

This is my second review of this camera. The first was on a photographic forum that I can't remember the name of.

I bought this camera brand new in early 2003 as an addition to my film kit, and have used it constantly and consistently ever since.
So after approximately 4 years I feel I now have a depth of experience behind me that allows me to give a true account of this camera in my eyes.
It is true that (when talking about a camera as opposed to photography in general) the lens is everything so I bought myself some 'L' glass and haven't looked back.
I'm not a professional photographer and this is not a professional camera, but you can certainly use it as one. The results straight from the camera, provided you have exposed correctly are brilliant. Don't believe me? Then do some searching on the net.

I have mainly used this camera in RAW mode but I have seen the grey cast over JPEG images that some people talk about. If you use Photoshop you can easily remove this with the unsharp mask. I rarely use JPEG so this is not a concern for me.

The camera is a little slow compared to the latest bodies but this is just a steady march forward in technology and not something you can hold against the camera in any objective sense. Most of my photography is landscape work. It's not going anywhere and I'd rather take my time than rush, and I'm also enjoying the outdoors. Camera speed doesn't concern me in the slightest.

Yes the flash is a little under powered, but it's enough to put a catchlight in the eyes of an animal or person. If you need more, get a dedicated flash. I use the 550EX on this body and it's fantastic.

The LCD is a little small compared to the later models, but I have grown used to it. I also use the histogram and NOT the preview to tell me if I nailed the shot and or clipped the highlights.

No weather sealing. But this isn't a professional camera.

Noise is high from iso400 up. However, NoiseNinja takes care of this brilliantly. But if you convert to B&W then a little noise is ok in my comes down to taste.

I can't say how the automated shooting modes handle as I've only ever used AV, TV and mainly M. But in these modes the camera works extremely well. It is not concerned at all if you, the photographer, wish to take control of the creative process.

Highlights do clip quite easily and this is something you should be aware of. I get around this with two exposures to combine later in PS, or I intentionally under expose by half to one stop if it's critical to get the shot first time. Shadow detail is quite good.

The 10D won't handle the new EFS lens range but these came after the camera so fair enough.

I'd have to read the manual to talk about all the custom functions. I've boosted the saturation just a little but left the sharpening to default, I prefer to control this myself later on.
I use only the centre focus zone when in auto-focus and have this permanently set. Because I'm a landscape shooter I use manual focus 99.999999% of the time with hyper-focal distance.

If I had my time over would I buy another 10D? My oath I would!
As a second hand purchase you can't find better. When it breaks (and it will) I will get it repaired.
I am eyeing off the 5D now but I will always have my trusty 10D. Like my Minolta SRT and Canon film bodies, we've been through too much and covered so much ground to part company now.

No this review is not very objective, but these are my experiences with the wonderful camera. Buy one, enjoy it, take photos, make memories.

A few updates to the site

As you may have noticed, I have changed the colour scheme of the site. I thought, as spring was on its way, it was time for a refresh.
I have also added a new book, Australian Images ~ Rex Dupain, to my
inspiration section. Check it out.

Scooting through the dust

I've had my new bike now for about 4 months and the only dirt its seen is the 1km I have on my way to and from work. So I decided to check out a back track that I hadn't been on for a number of years and then only once. The two wheel track runs over Mt. Buggery out the back of Borumba Dam via Bella Creek Road and takes you the back way to Land Cruiser Park and the Jimna forestry. There is a reason the mountain is called Buggery... Now my little scooter is not a trail bike. It's a DL 650 which is part road bike and part tourer. A trail bike it is not. This became rather obvious once I left the tar. Two things immediately came home to me, 1. the bike is front heavy and 2. the tyres are for the road.. slicks and useless on sandy gravel. However, not one to let a challenge go um.. unchallenged, rocks pinging off the oil filter I charged forth.

The final approach to the summit of Mt Buggery is rather steep, so much so I was rather concerned as I came upon it. But being far to late to turn around I stamped down to 2nd and wristed it. Rear wheel spinning and front wheel skating over the road like it was ice I arrived at the top of the goat track with heart pounding. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I spied a weedy sapling that was in dire need of some hydration so I came to a halt in a cloud of dust, marched off into the scrub and rendered assistance. Feeling rather like a super hero I climbed back aboard my steed and carried on. 1hr and 10mins later I arrived at the entrance to Land Cruiser Park. Piece of cake.

Decision time, take the left and go to Jimna/Kilcoy or take the right and head into the unknown. I chose unknown and 15 mins later realised I was low on fuel, Doh!

Just when I thought I'd be spending the last hours of my life stranded miles from anywhere I found a road sign. It was in english, so I was still in Australia. It said Kandanga (get down and say praise the Lord). Thinking I was home and hosed I headed off down this yellow brick road to civilisation, visor up, bugs ricocheting off my teeth.

New sign.

Permit required.

Large fines.

Cursing, I pulled up to check out the largest carpet snake (carpet python for the city slickers) I had seen in quite some time. Easily 8 feet long and as thick as my calf through the middle. As I watched the critter search for a warm place in the sun, along came the park Ranger in his Land Cruiser. He nearly ran over the snake as he considered if I had broken down and how best to render assistance. Some skillful braking, sliding, spinning and sphincter clenching brought him past the snake and up beside me. Moments later, he's telling me that the road I was heading down was much better than the one I had taken over Mt. Buggery and to disregard the permit signs.

With a sigh of relief and waving thanks, I headed off with visions of paved freeways racing through my head.

5 minutes later I almost came back to earth with a large thud. What followed was an hour of white knuckle riding that saw me almost on the bike the whole way. Never in my life have I been so close to falling off for such an extended period of time. Sheer drops off the road, near vertical sections of rocky switch backs. The Ranger said the views were spectacular. I didn't notice. With the words of Banjo Patterson's Man from Snowy River running through my head I landed at the bottom of that 'Terrible Descent' and just shy of kissing the ground I dismounted.

After a few deep breaths and couple of moments counting my blessings we headed home, along paved road. My trusty steed, pluck undaunted, courage firey hot, snuffed the battle with delight and thought nothing of the ordeal. It's rider on the other hand, will not be riding that road again.

I can laugh about it now, safely home, bike in the shed nibbling some well earned hay.

No. I didn't take a camera. More fool me. I'll be turning left next time.


RapidWeaver 3.6.2 released

As you may have noticed, I use RW to produce this website. Why do I use it? well that's all explained on the RealMacSoftware website. RW makes it very simple to create a flashy website very quickly. What's more, version 3.6.2 has been released. This version brings a couple of nice additions. Side bars can now be edited just like any styled text page and there is also the new iPhone theme which looks very snazzy. I tried it on my site, but it ended up looking like a giant pear so I didn't progress any further. Not that I'd want to mind you, I don't think my web presence lends itself to the glittery look of an iPhone. Yours might however, so give it a burl. Blog updating and closer integration with stat services are another two areas that have seen a facelift. If you haven't had a look at Rapid Weaver why not go check it out.